Community Change Festival


Over 4 days, explore the 5 interconnected practices every changemaker needs to move from ideas, to practice, to impact. Through workshops, open space dialogue, tools, immersive tours, and peer input processes, go deep into one approach or advance your skills in each.






Tool Sessions


5 Idea Sessions


New Thought Papers


Immersive City Experiences

A Festival of Ideas

At the Tamarack Learning Centre, we focus on Five Interconnected Practices every community changemaker tackling complex problems needs to harness to move from idea to practice to impact. No matter what issue you're focused on - affordable housing, mental health, food security, reconciliation, environmental sustainability, youth engagement - a strong understanding of each idea below and how they intersect will give you the foundation you need to see real impact in your community work. 



Collective Impact

One of the biggest challenges facing community change leaders is impacting systems and policies to improve the well-being of citizens. In 2011, FSG in the United States defined an approach to large-scale, system-wide community change called Collective Impact. The Collective Impact idea provides a useful framework for community change and is situated within the broad frame of collaborative efforts focused on systems and policy change. Tamarack collaborates with colleagues in Canada, the United States and internationally to intentionally build the field of practice in Collective Impact and collaborative community change efforts.


Community Engagement

Community Engagement is the process by which citizens are engaged to work and learn together on behalf of their communities to create and realize bold visions for the future. We apply the theory to community contexts and teach and coach organizations, municipalities and groups to engage their communities meaningfully. We stress the importance of approaching engagement with an outcomes-based lens, of always involving context experts, and to provide community ownership of solutions whenever possible. We specialize in applying Community Engagement to systems-thinking in order to work collaboratively for community-wide change.


Community Innovation

We see Community Innovation as a particular form of social innovation that is place-based, within the specific geography of a community. As dynamic ‘living labs’, communities offer the perfect container for innovation. Through our experience with community change, we have come to understand that to be effective, innovation requires an appreciation of both the issue one is hoping to address, as well as a deep understanding of the unique characteristics of the community – the place and the people within it – where the innovation will be implemented.

 Collaborative Leadership Icon New 

Collaborative Leadership

The premise of Collaborative Leadership says: If you bring the appropriate people together in constructive ways with good information, they will create authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of the organization and community. When collaboration works, it reproduces and builds the characteristics of civic community, allowing us to deal with future issues in constructive ways. Collaboration builds social capital. Collaboration is the new leadership, and we work with communities and organizations to implement Collaborative Leadership processes to achieve impact.



Evaluating Impact

New approaches to community change require different ways of evaluating impact. We are experimenting with new ways of measuring change, exploring who is responsible for outcomes, developing methods that adapt to the pace of community change activities, creating alternative approaches for getting change makers involved in the actual assessment process, and using the results to drive new thinking, better strategies and deeper impact.

The learning arc

At the Community Change Festival the learning doesn't just happen at the gathering itself. The curriculum is based around a Learning Arc that begins with a series of papers and webinars across the five interconnected practices that will be built upon at the Festival itself. After the Festival we will release resources in response to the challenges and opportunities we uncover during our time together. 

Check out the papers we've released so far below, and visit the Resources tab for a full list of Learning Arc Resources.


Paper IconCreating Containers and Co-Design: Transforming Collaboration

By: Liz Weaver, Co-CEO, Tamarack Learning Centre

Read the Paper


Paper IconCommunity Engagement - A Foundational Practice of Community Change

By: Sylvia Cheuy, Tamarack Consulting Director, Community Engagement

Read the Paper


Paper Icon

An Overview of Community Innovation Trends - Part One: Design-Based Approaches

By: Galen MacLusky, Tamarack Consulting Director, Community Innovation

Read the Paper


Our Festival Faculty

This Festival is all about the Five Idea Areas - Collective Impact, Community Engagement, Collaborative Leadership, Community Innovation and Evaluating Impact. That's why our 5 Idea Faculty is comprised of experts on each. On our final day together we will also have the opportunity to hear from and engage in dialogue around the topic of the Future of Community Change – Overcoming Power and Privilege with Greater Good Studio Founder, George Aye. 



George Aye Headshot

Meet George AYE

George co-founded Greater Good Studio with the belief that design can lead to positive behaviour change.Previously, he spent seven years at global innovation firm IDEO before being hired as the first human-centered designer at the Chicago Transit Authority. Since founding Greater Good, he has worked across multiple social issues including autism, criminal justice, education, public health and health care. George is an Adjunct Full Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. With his co-founder, he was awarded the TED Prize City 2.0 (2012) and recognized in the Public Interest Design 100 list (2013). 



Meet Our 5 idea faculty 

Liz Weaver

Liz is Co-CEO of the Tamarack Institute, and is also Tamarack's resident expert on all things Collective Impact. Liz is well-known for her thought leadership on collective impact and is the author of several popular and academic papers on the topic. She is a co-catalyst partner with the Collective Impact Forum and leads a collective impact capacity building strategy with the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Consulting Director, Collective Impact

Sylvia Cheuy

Sylvia is an internationally recognized community-builder and trainer. Over the past five years, much of Sylvia’s work has focused on building awareness and capacity in the areas of Collective Impact and Community Engagement throughout North America.

Consulting Director, Community Engagement

Galen MacLusky

Galen is a Consulting Director of the Tamarack Institute’s Community Innovation Idea Area. He is passionate about working with community organizations to help build and scale new ideas that deepen their impact. An experienced design, innovation, and co-creation consultant, at the core of his work are approaches that help organizations engage with those who are impacted by their services and test new programs and services with minimal investment.

Consulting Director, Community Innovation

Mark Cabaj

Mark is President of the consulting company From Here to There and an Associate of Tamarack Institute. Mark’s current focus is on developing practical ways to understand, plan and evaluate efforts to address complex issues (e.g. neighborhood renewal, poverty and homelessness, community safety, educational achievement and health). He has first-hand knowledge of using evaluation as a policy maker, philanthropist, and activist, and has played a big role in promoting the emerging practice of developmental evaluation in Canada.

Associate Director, Evaluating Impact

Loisann Hauer

Loisann is an organization, leadership and learning strategy professional whose expertise lies in providing leaders with the knowledge, strategies and solutions for complex environments. This includes systems-oriented approaches that enhance leadership capabilities, foster organizational learning, lead sustainable change, and influence culture development and business performance.

Idea Lead, Collaborative Leadership
See Full List of Presenters

Artist at Community Change InstituteA Festival CELEBRATION

This gathering is not just about strengthening your community change competencies, but about celebrating the amazing work that is being done by leaders like you all across the country and beyond. Throughout our time together we will: enjoy artistic performances by local artists; explore the city we're in and celebrate the local projects that are taking place within it; make time and space to connect, socialize and learn from one another; and, offer opportunities to contribute to the emerging learning community that we will create together throughout the week. 

Learn about Festival Experiences


“I’ve travelled enough to realize there are brilliant people in every community who know solutions. They don’t need saviours, they need allies.”


The Community Change Festival will take place at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre

222 Bremner Blvd
Toronto, ON
M5V 3L9 

Thank you to our partners


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